A Statement From Merrill College Leadership in Response to the Presidential Election

November 9th, 2016

Dear Merrill students:

After last night's events, and in the wake of a peaceful protest of thousands of UCSC students at Quarry Plaza who gathered together to share their grief and disbelief, I drafted the letter below, which CAO Alex Belisario joins me whole-heartedly in sending:

Dear Merrill students:

Yesterday's election left me shocked and speechless. A candidate who openly espouses misogynistic, xenophobic, isolationist views, who turns his back on facts and eschews introspection, who stands for nothing I recognize--this candidate won? The country I live in no longer feels like the country I thought I knew. 

Many of you must be feeling the same, and I share your bewilderment. As a parent of a daughter not much younger than you, I share the anxiety many of you must feel about the future. And for those of you who dreamed that a better, more expansive, more open future--one without walls at the border and walls around our leaders' hearts--I share your crushing disappointment and loss. To Merrill's undocumented students, its Muslims and Jews, its immigrants and children of immigrants, to all who have felt the sting of the new president's contempt--I share your fear and anger.

Some of you may have voted for Donald Trump. Some of you may have come from families or communities where support for Donald Trump was strong. To all students: please understand that there is room for respectful disagreement at Merrill College and at UCSC, and that tolerance and inclusivity are much more than politically correct buzzwords. Indeed, they are the watchwords of a democratic republic such as ours, and their betrayal during this election is one reason so many feel shock and dismay. We can do better.

Yesterday's election may leave you with the impression that the nation has turned its back on fundamental commitments to social justice and equity. But don't you give up.

I take strength in knowing that you are the future we have to look forward to. You are young and strong and committed, eager to be educated and quick to seek justice. Your work--your hard work but good work--is to make our country a place where justice may flourish. This election has no effect on that at all.

I look forward in the next weeks and months to talking with you as we navigate this strange world together.

This is a time of grief and confusion for many, and we want you to be aware of a few resources available to you. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is located at the Cowell Health Center, and their number is (831) 459-2628. The Resource Centers have a drop-in space at the 3rd floor of Baytree from 10am-4pm today. Alex and I are also both available to meet with students who need further support--contact the Merrill and Crown College offices to make appointments, or write to us directly at mrlprovo@ucsc.edu.

Yours,

Elizabeth Abrams, Provost
&
Alex Belisario, College Administrative Officer